Archive for the 'Baseball America' Category

Baseball America – Crawford #2 Among Sally League Prospects

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

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Baseball America is in the process of rolling out their 2014 league top 20 prospect rankings and the South Atlantic League list features SS JP Crawford at #2.

You can see the lists for all of the leagues (with some still to be unveiled) by clicking here.

Crawford, the 16th overall pick in the 2013 draft from Lakewood, California, played two weeks with the BlueClaws at the end of last season and this year, hit .295 with 3 HRs, 19 RBIs and 14 SBs over 60 games with Lakewood. At the All-Star break, he was promoted to Hi-A Clearwater, where he played 63 games and hit .275 with 8 HRs, 29 RBs and 10 SBs.

I’m sure he will also appear on the Florida State League prospect list when it is announced next week.

The Phillies were not represented in the Gulf Coast League top 20 and their lone representative in the NY-Penn League top 20 was Aaron Brown (#18), who played for both Williamsport (.256, 3 HRs, 8 SBs) and Lakewood (.309, 1 HR in 14 games). Brown hit is lone BlueClaws home run in the Labor Day season finale, a 9-8 BlueClaws come-from-behind win in Hagerstown.

On the Phillies Top Ten…

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

A few weeks back, Baseball America released their annual Phillies Top Ten prospect rankings, which you can view here. As we’ve done in the past, we sat down with the Baseball America’s Josh Norris, who made the list, to talk further and deeper about the rankings.

We thank Josh for his help, and you can follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

1) First, give us an overview of all that goes into putting a list like this together (10 are out now but you go to 30 in the Prospect Handbook).

First and foremost, a lot of time on the phone with scouts and managers inside and outside of the organization. You need to get a sense of how players are gauged before you can rank them, obviously.

Once all that’s done, I took what I thought were the best-reviewed guys and put them on a white board. Then made notations for categories such as players with defensive questions, players with injury history, players who’d had upper-level experience, and a few others.

With that out of the way, the top guys tend to sift to the top rather easily. The only real wild-card this year, for me, was Miguel Gonzalez, who should be in the big leagues very early, if not on Opening Day.

2) Last year, Jesse Biddle was #1. This year he was overtaken by Maikel Franco. What did Franco do this year to move up?

Quite simply, he raked. He swatted 36 doubles and 31 bombs across two levels, en route to a .320/.356/.569 batting. Evaluators noticed marked improvements in his plate discipline, as shown by his mere 70 strikeouts in 541 plate appearances. Moreover his defense, while not elite by any means, appears to be more than enough to stick at third base, especially given his well above-average arm.

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Baseball America Phililes Top Ten

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

top ten logoBaseball America released their annual Phillies top ten prospects list earlier this week. Of the players on the list, seven have played with the BlueClaws and we can expect at least one and probably two of those ten to be back with the BlueClaws in 2014.

The list in full (years with BlueClaws):

  1. 3B Maikel Franco (2011-12)
  2. LHP Jesse Biddle (2011)
  3. SS JP Crawford (2013)
  4. RHP Miguel Gonzalez (–)
  5. SS Roman Quinn (2013)
  6. OF Carlos Tocci (2013)
  7. RHP Ethan Martin (–)
  8. 2B/OF Cesar Hernandez (–)
  9. OF Aaron Altherr (2011-12)
  10. RHP Severino Gonzalez (2013)

We would expect to see Crawford and Tocci at the very least to open the season in Lakewood and we suppose Quinn is possible but would be surprised if he’s not in Clearwater when the season starts on April 3rd.

Quick run-throughs on these 10:

1. Maikel Franco: The third baseman spent 2012 with the BlueClaws as a 19 year old and after a big second half with the BlueClaws that year (.346, 8 HRs, 57 RBIs) into 2013, where he sizzled in Clearwater (.299, 16 HRs, 52 RBIs) and carried that to Reading (.339, 15 HRs, 51 RBIs) after a June promotion. He ranked 8th on this list last year. Franco will certainly be placed on the Phillies 40-man roster and almost certainly will open next year with Triple-A Lehigh.

2. Jesse Biddle: Biddle topped this list last year. With Lakewood in 2011, the Philadelphia native and Phillies 2010 first-round pick, Biddle this year pitched for Double-A Reading, where he hada  3.64 ERA in a hitter-friendly park despite a 5-14 record (Biddle didn’t get any run support in Lakewood either, going 7-8 despite a 2.98 ERA).

3. JP Crawford: The Phillies first-round pick this year made a huge impact, leading the Gulf Coast League in hitting at .345 before a late August promotion to the BlueClaws. He went 11-53 with two stolen bases over 14 games. Crawford turns 19 in January and finishes

4. Miguel Gonzalez: Gonzalez doesn’t fit in with the others on this list as he was a free agent signing after defecting from Cuba last year. He signed a 3-year, $12 million contract and could be in the big league rotation in 2014. He originally agreed to a 6-year, $48 million contract but had issues with his physical, per media reports, so the Phillies and Gonzalez eventually agreed to a smaller deal.

5. Roman Quinn: Quinn, a 2nd round pick of the Phillies in 2011, turned down a scholarhip to Florida State to sign with Philadelphia, and after leading the NY-Penn League in stolen bases in 2012, he joined the BlueClaws in 2013. In 67 games, he hit .238 with 32 stolen bases before unfortunately breaking his wrist in Delmarva on June 25th, which ultimately ended his season. He’ll play winter ball and we’d expect to see him in Clearwater to open 2014.

6. Carlos Tocci: Tocci was the youngest player in BlueClaws history last year when he joined the team on Opening Day at age 17. He didn’t even turn 18 until August 23rd. Tocci held his own, excelling in centerfield. At the plate hit .209 with 26 RBIs in 118 games. We’d expect Tocci, to return to Lakewood in 2014, where he will still be one of the youngest players, if not the youngest, in the South Atlantic League. (As a point of comparison, he is seven months younger than JP Crawford, who began the year playing as a senior in high school, while Tocci was in the Sally League.)

7. Ethan Martin: Martin came over to the Phillies from the Dodgers in 2012. He spent this year with Lehigh Valley, going 11-5, 4.12 and was called up to the Phillies in August, making 15 appearances and going 2-5, 6.08.

8. Cesar Hernandez: Hernandez skipped Lakewood, going from Williamsport in 2010 to Clearwater in 2011. This year, he had an excellent year, hitting .309 with Lehigh Valley over 104 games and hitting .289 in 34 games with the Phillies. He figures to get a shot to make the big league Opening Day roster in 2014.

9. Aaron Altherr: Altherr, a former 9th round pick of the Phillies in 2009, hit .275 with a career-high 12 home runs and 23 stolen bases (in 28 attempts) after hitting .252 with 8 home runs and 25 stolen bases with the BlueClaws in 2012, which was up from .211 which he hit with the BlueClaws in 2011 (over the first half before finishing the year with Williamsport). Altherr has to be placed on the 40-man roster by the Phillies or he will be subjected to the Rule-5 Draft.

10. Severino Gonzalez: Of all the players on this list, the one that was probably the least likely to be here entering the season is Gonzalez. The right-hander joined the BlueClaws and made four starts, going 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA, which included one game in which he retired all 18 hitters he faced. Gonzalez then went to Clearwater, where he had pitched in relief earlier this year as a fill-in (he finished with a 2.02 ERA in 75 Clearwater innings), and made one start with Reading on Labor Day, giving up two runs in 6.2 innings. There aren’t too many players that open one year in extended spring training and then open the next year in Reading, but Gonzalez will have the chance.

We’ll have more with this list over the coming weeks. As in the past, we have tried to interview a Baseball America writer, regarding this list, and that is again the plan.

80

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Yesterday, we passed along the annual Baseball America top 100 prospects rankings, a list which contained three former and one future BlueClaw. The future BlueClaw on that list is Roman Quinn, a shortstop who will likely be Lakewood’s Opening Day (April 4th is 43 days away!) SS and lead-off hitter.

In the scouting reports that accompanied the BA rankings, they pass along player ratings along the 20-80 scouting scale, with 80 being the best.

We noted in our write-up of Quinn that he was given a speed rating of 80, which made us curious as to the numbers of 80s handed out. Here are the players on the list who received a rating of 80 in one category.

  • RHP Gerrit Cole, #7 overall, Pirates – 80 fastball
  • 3B Miguel Sano, #8 overall, Twins – 80 power
  • CF Byron Buxton, #10 overall, Twins – 80 speed
  • OF/SS Billy Hamilton, #20 overall, Reds – 80 speed
  • RHP Bruce Rondon, #95 overall, Tigers – 80 fastball
  • SS Roman Quinn, #100 overall, Phillies – 80 speed

That’s the list. Six players. Cole was the #1 overall pick in 2011 by the Pirates. Sano is a top Twins prospect who signed for over $3 million out of the Dominican Republic. Buxton was the #2 overall pick in the 2012 draft. Hamilton stole 155 bases in 2012 between Hi-A and AA. Finally, Rondon is expected to contend for the closer’s role this year with the Tigers.

BlueClaws Connections in Baseball America Top 100

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Baseball America today released their annual Top 100 Prospects list and there are several connections to the BlueClaw. Year listed is their year with the BlueClaws.

23. Travis d’Arnaud, C, 2009 – Now with the Mets, they expect d’Arnaud to make his big league debut at some point in 2013. Could he be the 50th player to go From The Shore to the Show? He’s on the list of possibles, certainly. BA gives him a 60 bat tool and a 60 power tool on the 20-80 scouting scale. He hit .333 with 16 HRs in 67 games with AAA Las Vegas before an injury. He was traded to the Mets as part of a package for RA Dickey in the winter.

27. Jonathan Singleton, 1B, 2010 – The Astros 1B prospect, who was acquired in 2011 as part of the deal that sent Hunter Pence to the Phillies, hit .284 with 21 home runs with AA Corpus Christi last year. BA gives him a 65 bat with 60 power and an ETA of 2014.

89. Jesse Biddle, LHP, 2011 – Biddle has put together back-to-back dynamite campaigns in his first two full seasons, including 10-6, 3.22 year in 2012 with Clearwater in which he struck out 151 hitters in 142.2 innings. He’s just 21, and BA gives him steady ratings across the board, ranging from 50-60 in fastball, curveball, command, change-up, and control. He’ll get tested this year moving to AA Reading and a hitter-friendly FirstEnergy Stadium.

100. Roman Quinn, SS, 2013 – Quinn is one of just a few players on this list who have not yet played in a full-season league. BA gives him an 80 speed (best possible), and he is one of just a few players to receive an 80 in any category (more on this later). Last year was his first as a switch-hitter and a shortstop, and Quinn hit .281 and led the NYPL with 30 stolen bases. He’ll likely be Lakewood’s shortstop and leadoff hitter in 2013.

Links: Full List, Scouting Reports, Helpful Tidbits.

The Handbook

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Every year, Baseball America puts out what is likely the most comprehensive look at prospects every year, through their Baseball America Prospect Handbook, which arrived in the mail late last week.

Baseball America has previously released their Top Ten prospects in each organization (Phillies here) and we did a Q&A with their Phillies writer, Matt Forman (here).

Below the fold, however, you can see 11-30. We’ve put their 2012 finishing level in parentheses. Many of those on this list could be BlueClaws in 2013.

Enjoy.

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BA Phillies Top Ten Q&A

Monday, December 31st, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, Baseball America released their annual Phillies Top Ten prospect rankings. As we’ve done in years past, we went deeper into those rankings by talking to Matt Forman, the Baseball America writer who compiled them.

As a refresher, 2011 BlueClaws LHP Jesse Biddle topped the list, and likely 2013 BlueClaws SS Roman Quinn was second on the list.

You can follow Matt on Twitter here. Onto the Q&A:

Q: What were the biggest strides Jesse Biddle made over the past season?

Jesse Biddle, the Phillies’ No. 1 prospect entering 2013, has had an incremental climb throughout his young professional career. Really, and the Phillies’ brass has said this multiple times, he has done everything — and more — that’s been asked of him since his signed as their first-round pick in 2010. Last year, Biddle took significant strides in a number of areas. In terms of stuff, Biddle better pitched to both sides of the plate with his fastball. His changeup developed into a swing-and-miss offering. He gained consistency with his curveball, especially in controlling its knee-buckling depth. He also added a slider and a two-seam fastball to his arsenal. All the while, in terms of statistics, Biddle cut his walk rate, improved his whiff rate and bettered his groundball-to-flyball ratio — all positive indicators. When the stats and stuff align, that’s a good sign for any pitching prospect. If Biddle continues progressing the way he has, he could out-perform his projected mid-rotation starter upside.

Q: Roman Quinn ranked #2 on the list and in the write-up you said he was a legit 80-speed on the 20-80 scouting scale. In general, how rare is that 80 designation?

Extremely rare — 80-grade tools are not offered liberally. The 20-80 scouting scale is based on the mathematical normal distribution curve, where 50 is Major League average and every 10-point differential falls one standard deviation from the mean. By literal definition, then, Roman Quinn’s speed should roughly rate among the top 0.1 percent of players — but the system isn’t quite that scientific. That is, probably between 15 and 20 percent of big leaguers have “average” or 50-grade speed, because players slow down (age, size) and speed isn’t as big a part of the game as it once was, though that’s changing. Regardless, Quinn is on the short list of the fastest players in the minor leagues — arguably the fastest player not named Billy Hamilton, of Cincinnati’s system. Quinn’s speed is game-changing, impacting play in the field, at the plate and on the bases.

Q: Quinn was listed in the middle of the pack in the 2012 ratings. What stood out about his 2012 performance and were you surprised about his jump?

I’d say I was somewhat surprised by Quinn’s jump, but not totally shocked. Quinn barely missed the Top 10 last year, coming in at No. 11 on the pre-2012 list after being selected in the second round of the draft, and that ranking was at least partially influenced by the fact that he signed late and made his professional debut in instructional league, so we were largely relying on his amateur reports. In instructs, he impressed observers with his first-step quickness, but he had just committed to switch-hitting and playing shortstop full-time. Really, that’s what stood out about his 2012 performance — his development on the infield dirt, where scouts seem encouraged he’ll be able to stay, and his improvement hitting left-handed. He’s got a plus arm and good actions at short, and he could be a solid-average hitter from both sides.

To your original question: Quinn was the New York-Penn League’s No. 3 prospect, and when I started the reporting/researching process for this list, I expected him to fall somewhere in the middle of Top 10. But quickly, Quinn received consideration for the list’s No. 1 spot, and it wasn’t necessarily an easy decision to go with Biddle over Quinn. Ultimately, Quinn has a higher ceiling, but Biddle is the safer bet to reach his ceiling after spending his age-20 season pitching for high Class A Clearwater.

Q: Jonathan Pettibone was here in Lakewood in 2010 on a staff that had Brody Colvin, Jarred Cosart, Trevor May, and Julio Rodriguez and he always seemed to get lost in the shuffle. Obviously he had a tremendous season and beat all of those guys to Triple-A (save Cosart who was an injury fill-in there with Houston). Did his move and year surprise people and what’s his projection going forward?

You’re right about Jonathan Pettibone being overlooked among the “Baby Aces” rotation that pitched in Lakewood in 2010 and Clearwater for half of 2011. That’s likely because Pettibone doesn’t have (and didn’t have) the pure stuff of Colvin, Cosart and May, and he hasn’t posted (and didn’t post) the outrageous strikeout totals of Rodriguez. But Pettibone has the best pitchability among that group, and that’s why he has progressed more quickly through the minor leagues.

I’d say Pettibone’s 2012 was marginally unexpected, at least in the sense that I didn’t anticipate he’d make seven starts for Triple-A Lehigh Valley last year, and I don’t think many others would’ve made that prediction. But Pettibone entered the year as the system’s No. 4 prospect, and he’ll enter next year occupying the same spot. So the more surprising jump happened two seasons ago, but it was encouraging to see him have another strong season.

Pettibone’s projection: a mid-rotation, innings-eater, probably as a No. 3 or No. 4 starter. Some scouts still worry about his lack of a swing-and-miss pitch. For his solid stuff and advanced command/control, Pettibone has never missed many bats, though his strikeout rate bumped up at Lehigh Valley. That said, Pettibone likely will be given a chance to compete for the Phillies’ fifth starter spot in spring training, and either way he could see time in Philadelphia at some point in 2013.

There’s a lot more below the fold…

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Baseball America Phillies Top Ten

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

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We posted this on BlueClaws.com but not here – the annual Baseball America Phillies Top Ten Prospect Rankings, which is always a fun day because we get to talk some baseball here in the middle of the off-season.

Here are their rankings, which are led by 2011 BlueClaw LHP Jesse Biddle and (likely) 2013 BlueClaw SS Roman Quinn. Among former BlueClaws, by the way, Jonathan Pettibone (2010 RHP) is 4, Maikel Franco (2012 3B) is 8 and Darin Ruf (2010 1B) is 9.

Their top ten from last year looked like this. Trevor May (#1) was traded. Sebastian Valle (#3) fell out of the top ten (they don’t release more than 10 outside of their actual handbook where they go 1-30, but I’d guess Valle is in the 11-13 range), Phillippe Aumont (#5) fell out of the top ten (see Valle), as did Jiwan James (#9) and Brody Colvin (#8). Freddy Galvis (#6), and Justin De Fratus (#7) no longer qualify.

The Phillies top prospects per this list over the last several seasons (year is season entering) were Carlos Carrasco (2007-2008), Domonic Brown (2009-2011), Trevor May (2012), and now Biddle.

Below the fold, we have write-ups on all of the players and we will again try to get in touch with Matt Forman of Baseball America, who made the list, for his comments, as we’ve done in years past.

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Former BlueClaws Recognized By Baseball America

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Several former BlueClaws that are currently in other organizations were recognized by Baseball America in their annual “Top 10 Prospects” lists (link here) for various organizations.

Blue Jays
#1. Travis d’Arnaud (2009) – d’Arnaud helped the BlueClaws win their second South Atlantic League title (in 2009), and was traded to the Blue Jays after the season as part of the deal that brought Roy Halladay to the Phillies. d’Arnaud finished his third season with the Blue Jays and playing in AAA Las Vegas, he hit .333 with 16 HRs and 52 RBIs before an unfortunate knee injury (torn PCL) in late June ended his season. He’ll be healthy for spring training and will almost certainly make his big league debut at some point in 2013. GM Alex Anthopoulos said the following:

“We just want to see him get back, hopefully have a good spring training, go down to the minor leagues, get his swing back and we’ll worry about him hopefully when he’s having a great year down there and he can make our decision hard.”

The other former BlueClaw with Toronto, d’Arnaud’s 2009 teammate Anthony Gose, is obviously no longer considered a prospect after playing 56 games with the Blue Jays this year.

Astros
#2 Jonathan Singleton (2010) – Singleton joined the BlueClaws from extended spring training in May of 2010 and hit 14 home runs and drove in 77 runs in helping the BlueClaws win their second straight title. He was traded to the Astros in July of 2011 as part of the deal that brought Hunter Pence to Philadelphia. This past year, he hit .284 with 21 home runs and 79 RBIs with Double-A Corpus Christi. He had a great Arizona Fall League as well and will likely start 2013 in Triple-A and make his big league debut at some point later in the season.

Note that the only player ranked ahead of Singleton on the Astros list was SS Carlos Correa, who was the #1 overall pick in the 2012 draft. BA did note they consider Singleton the best first base prospect in the minors. The other noteworthy thing for Singleton is that with the Astros moving to the American League, there are potential at bats as a DH for him (or someone else) that weren’t there last year.

#7 Jarred Cosart (2010) – Cosart made 14 starts, going 7-3, 2.79, with the BlueClaws in 2010. He was then traded to the Astrros, with Singleton, in 2011 as part of the Hunter Pence trade. Last year, Cosart, a native of League City, Texas (just 25 miles from Minute Maid Park), pitched for both AA Corpus Christi (5-5, 3.52) and AAA Oklahoma City (1-2, 2.60). He’ll open 2013 in the starting rotation at Oklahoma City and is another that could debut in the big leagues this year.

BA notes that while he is a starter for now, some think he will end up a closer at some point in the future.

Misc Notes…All three of these players were ranked in the Baseball America Top 50 (overall) entering the 2012 season (click here)…d’Arnaud and Singleton were both top 25 in BA’s mid-season list this year (here)…We were a little surprised that fellow 2010 BlueClaw Jonathan Villar didn’t make the Astros top ten. Villar hit .261 in Double-A this year adding 39 stolen bases and just turned 21. I’m sure he’s in the top 15, but those aren’t revealed until the Prospect Handbook comes out in late January.

If you’re wondering, the Phillies list is slated to be revealed on Monday, December 17th.

Biddle, Morgan In BA’s FSL Top 20

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Two Phillies, including 2011 BlueClaws LHP Jesse Biddle, made Baseball America’s Florida State League Top 20 prospects lis

ting.

Biddle, the Phillies first round pick in 2010, ranked 10th while LHP Adam Morgan, the Phillies 3rd round pick in 2011 (University of Alabama), ranked 12th.

Biddle went 10-6 with a 3.22 ERA for Clearwater this year, striking out 151 hitters in 143 innings of work.

“His command of his fastball got better,” said Chris Truby, who managed Biddle in both Lakewood and Clearwater the last two years. “And I thought his breaking ball became more consistent. He’s now throwing it for strikes. It’s not just a swing-and-miss pitch, he buries it.”

He ranked 3rd in the league in ERA and after a slowish start (10 ER in his first 11.1 innings), he pitched to a sparkling 2.74 ERA in his final 23 starts, allowing three ER or less in 20 of those 23 games. He saved perhaps his two best games for the end of the year – throwing seven no-hit innings with two walks and 12 Ks on August 17th and following that up with seven more scoreless innings on two hits with 9 Ks on August 23rd.

Morgan pitched 2011 with Williamsport and skipped Lakewood, pitching to a 3.29 ERA in 20 games with Clearwater (133 Ks/28 BBs in 119 innings). He made his final six starts of the year with Reading, going 4-1, 3.53.

While 2011 BlueClaw Austin Wright, who was drafted that year in the 8th round from Ole Miss, didn’t make the list, I’m sure he was pretty close, after going 11-5, 3.47 with Clearwater this year. He fanned 133 in 147 innings.

Format

Two Phillies, including 2011 BlueClaws LHP Jesse Biddle, made Baseball America’s Florida State League Top 20 prospects listing.
Biddle, the Phillies first round pick in 2010, ranked 10th while LHP Adam Morgan, the Phillies 3rd round pick in 2011 (University of Alabama), ranked 12th.
Biddle went 10-6 with a 3.22 ERA for Clearwater this year, striking out 151 hitters in 143 innings of work.
“His command of his fastball got better,” said Chris Truby, who managed Biddle in both Lakewood and Clearwater the last two years. “And I thought his breaking ball became more consistent. He’s now throwing it for strikes. It’s not just a swing-and-miss pitch, he buries it.”
He ranked 3rd in the league in ERA and after a slowish start (10 ER in his first 11.1 innings), he pitched to a sparkling 2.74 ERA in his final 23 starts, allowing three ER or less in 20 of those 23 games. He saved perhaps his two best games for the end of the year – throwing seven no-hit innings with two walks and 12 Ks on August 17th and following that up with seven more scoreless innings on two hits with 9 Ks on August 23rd.
Morgan pitched 2011 with Williamsport and skipped Lakewood, pitching to a 3.29 ERA in 20 games with Clearwater (133 Ks/28 BBs in 119 innings). He made his final six starts of the year with Reading, going 4-1, 3.53.
While 2011 BlueClaw Austin Wright, who was drafted that year in the 8th round from Ole Miss, didn’t make the list, I’m sure he was pretty close, after going 11-5, 3.47 with Clearwater this year. He fanned 133 in 147 innings.
Path:

Franco Ranks 16th Among SAL Prospects

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Yesterday, we shared Baseball America’s NY-Penn League rankings, with possible

2013 BlueClaws shortstop Roman Quinn ranking 3rd in that league. Today, they released their South Atlantic League rankings, and BlueClaws third baseman Maikel Franco ranked 16th.

Franco, who played much of the year at 19 years of age (he turned 20 on August 26th), hit .280 with 14 HRs and 84 RBIs, but it was a tale of two halves for Franco. Before the All-Star break, he hit just .207-6-27 (OPS of .607) and in the second half, he hit .346-8-57 (OPS of .925).

His 2nd half ranked 4th in the league in average, 1st in RBIs, and 5th in OPS.

Mickey Morandini on Franco’s improved 2nd half: “Shorter to the ball. Starting to use all fields a bit more. He realizes he doesn’t have to swing for a home run every time and he’s done a great job laying off the curveball in the dirt to put himself in more hitters counts.”

In the scouting report section (subscriber-only), Augusta manager Lipso Nava said that Franco’s game reminded him of Adrian Beltre’s.

It’s worth noting as well that Franco was ranked as the 2nd best 3rd base prospect, though they were all bunched up (Greenville’s Garin Cechhini was 15th on this list while Hagerstown’s Matt Skole, who won the league MVP, was 19th).

The BlueClaws had two on this list last year – Jesse Biddle (6) and Domingo Santana (18), who was traded to Houston in August of 2011.

Quinn Ranks Third Among NYPL Prospects

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

(Williamsport Crosscutters)

Missed this yesterday, but Williamsport shortstop

Roman Quinn, who could well be with the BlueClaws in 2013, ranked 3rd among prospects in the New York-Penn League in the annual Baseball America league rankings.

Quinn was a Phillies 2nd round pick in 2010 from Port St Joe, Florida who committed to Florida State before signing. He was drafted as an outfielder and a right-handed batter, but with the Phillies, he’s not only learned how to play shortstop, but also to switch hit.

He hit .281 this year in 267 at bats with a league-leading 11 triples (two more than his nine doubles) and he stole 30 bases, which also led the league, while being caught just six times.

Quinn ended up tied for 16th in the minors in triples this year (including full-season players), and all but two players of the 15 with 12 or more triples did so in fewer at bats. 67 players in the minors this year had at least nine triples (again, includes all leagues, both full and short season) and only Quinn and Gioskar Amaya, a Cubs prospect, had more triples than doubles of that group.

“The kid never hit lefthanded and is facing college pitchers in our league, and it is pretty special what he is doing this year,” said Williamsport first-year manager Andy Tracy (Philadelphia Inquirer, August 13th). “He is a game-changer, and when he gets on base we are a different club.”

He’s odds-on to lead the BlueClaws in stolen bases this year, and might be a guy that can push 50+ stolen bases. Anthony Gose holds the team record of 76 and nobody else has ever gotten to 60 (Chris Roberson is second with 59). We’re looking forward to seeing him as a BlueClaws this year.

Baseball America GCL Top 20

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Baseball America released their Gulf Coast League Top 20 prospects list yesterday, a list that included one Phillies p

layer, and potential future BlueClaw – OF Carlos Tocci, who ranked 6th.

Tocci was 16 for most of the summer and didn’t turn 17 until August 23rd, but more than held his own, hitting .278 in 97 at bats and added nine stolen bases in 38 games.

Most likely, we would think he goes to Williamsport in 2013 and then would be with the BlueClaws as an 18-year old in 2014, but remember – Domingo Santana opened the 2010 season with Lakewood as a 17-year old in 2010, so you never know (that said, the BlueClaws 2013 outfield could be crowded entering the year, as it’s been the last couple of seasons). Either way, Tocci’s future is bright and we’ll see him in Lakewood at some point in the next few years.

Update: For comparison’s sake, the players ranked ahead of Tocci -

  • 1. Twins OF Byron Buxton – 2nd overall pick, 2012
  • 2. Astros SS Carlos Correa – 1st overall pick, 2012
  • 3. Blue Jays OF DJ Davis – 17th overall pick, 2012
  • 4. Astros OF Rio Ruiz – 4th round pick, 2012
  • 5. Pirates C Wyatt Mathieson – 2nd round pick, 2012

 

The Handbook Has Arrived

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

handbookblogThis is always one of the books I am most eager-to-open each year – the Baseball America Prospect Handbook, which you can order online through Baseball America. They release their top ten prospects each year and in the fall we did a Q&A with Matt Forman, who handed the Phillies list. Today, however, we go from 1-10, all the way up to 30.

11-20: 11 – Roman Quinn, SS (2nd round pick in 2011); 12 – Lisalberto Bonilla, RHP (2011 BlueClaw); 13 – Carlos Tocci, OF (16 year old signed with Phillies on August 23rd, his birthday); 14 – Cesar Hernandez, 2B (Played last year with Clearwater after skipping Lakewood); 15 – Aaron Altherr, OF (split last year between Lakewood and Williamsport and could be back with the BlueClaws); 16 – Ervis Manzanillo, LHP (2011 BlueClaw); 17 – Julio Rodriguez, RHP (2010 BlueClaw heads to Reading this year); 18 – Kyrell Hudson (3rd round pick in 2009 could open with Lakewood this year); 19 – Harold Garcia, 2B (2009 BlueClaw missed most of last year with torn ACL but could open this year with Lehigh Valley); 20 – Larry Greene, OF (Phillies supplemental first-round pick in 2011).

21-30: 21 – Perci Garner, RHP (2nd round pick in 2010 likely joins Lakewood this year); 22 – Austin Hyatt, RHP (2009 BlueClaw heads to Lehigh Valley this year); 23 – Mitchell Walding, SS (Phillies 5th round pick in 2011); 24 – Leandro Castro, OF (2009-10 BlueClaw); 25 – Joe Savery, LHP (made Phillies debut in September, never played here); 26 – Austin Wright, LHP (2011 8th round pick went 1-2, 2.67 in seven BlueClaws starts); 27 – Zach Collier, OF (played here in 2009 and 11); 28 – JC Ramirez, RHP (acquired in Cliff Lee trade from Seattle); 29 – Adam Morgan, LHP (3rd round pick in 2011 from Alabama went 3-3, 2.01 with Williamsport); 30 – Michael Schwimer, RHP (made Phillies debut in September).

(Yes, my desk is a little messy. Yes, that’s my Atlantic-10 Tournament pamphlet – Go Fordham! Yes, that’s my Big Brown bobblehead doll).